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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

What is the One, Next, Right Step to Sales Success?

steps to sales successSales tend to stall. Every salesperson with a pending list realizes that this week looks too much like last week. As does every sales manager who's listened through the excuses about why this or that prospect is still pending.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,”  ~ Lao Tzu 

We know that to accomplish big things, we need to break them down into smaller tasks. But, we’re often too busy to actually slow down and apply what we already know. Many companies have a defined sales process, some more structured than others, and it’s the lack of following that process that is stalling most sales.

Topics: sales process

What to do if You Think You Have a Culture Problem

company culture problemMuch has been written about the importance of company culture. Most has been ignored.

Here’s a list of some of the things impacted either positively or negatively by company culture:

  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Employee satisfaction and happiness
  • Attendance (absenteeism)
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving
Infographic: Top 15 Reasons Your Employees Stay

All these items listed above have a direct connection to performance, profitability, and cash flow. And, oh by the way, survival!

If you want to improve the performance of your company—overall performance, not just sales performance—it is essential to dedicate time, money, and resources to developing and building company culture.

Topics: company culture

Sales Management Tip: Stop Using Your Salespeople to Hit Your Budget!

sales budgetNobody likes to feel used. This is probably not a news flash, but salespeople don’t like to feel as though they are being used by their sales manager to hit their budget or bonus. I bring this up because recently, I attended an industry conference and happened to be sitting next to two sales managers discussing their second-quarter budgets and how difficult it was going to be to hit them.

The manager doing most of the talking said to the other, “I just don’t know what I am going to do. Maybe I just need to get more bodies in here and get them out selling and hitting the streets. The folks I have in here right now just aren’t getting it done for me, and I don’t want to miss hitting my bonus in Q2.”

Those who know me, know how difficult it was for me to hear this and not jump in! Instead, I decided to write this blog post and share my thinking with you.

Topics: sales management Talent coaching

Weekly Roundup: Living in an Age of the Empowered Buyer + More

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- MOTIVATION -

"THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SUCCESSFUL PERSON AND OTHERS IS NOT A LACK OF STRENGTH, NOT A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE, BUT RATHER A LACK OF WILL."

-VINCE LOMBARDI

 

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

Living in an Age of the Empowered Buyer Requires a Fresh Approach to Prospecting — LeadG2

Outbound prospecting for new business has always been a bit of a numbers game. Years ago, when I first started as a Sales Development Rep, the formula was simple. If you made 100 phone calls, you could expect 10 appointments, and at least 1 of those prospects would turn into a client. The numbers would vary from industry to industry and market to market, but that was the standard everyone was shooting for.

Outbound prospecting is still a numbers game today. Unfortunately, the numbers are just a lot bigger. It requires more phone calls and more emails than ever before to get fewer responses, fewer appointments, and fewer clients. Why is it so hard? What’s changed?
>>> READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

What are the Benefits of Sales Enablement and a Sales Playbook?

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on the LeadG2 blog.

sales-enablement-sales-playbook

Most managers and sellers have experienced this:

  • A seller is moving a new business prospect through the sales process.
  • All signs are positive.
  • The prospect goes silent, and will not respond to email, phone calls, letters, or stop-ins.
  • The seller goes to his/her manager and asks for advice.
  • The manager spends time listening to the seller, conducting diagnostic work, and providing advice to the seller (what to do to restart the stalled sale).

On the surface, this sounds like a good system, but in reality, it is not. Here’s why:

  • Managers work with multiple sellers—doing this for many sellers takes up a great deal of time and is often redundant (same problem… same solution).
  • Sellers might not have easy or timely access to their managers—this delays the sales process and allows the sale to get further off track.
Topics: sales enablement sales playbook

The Role of Tribe in Company Culture

purple tribe at jeep jamboreeNot long ago, I spoke with two leaders from a top-notch company enrolled in our Up Your Culture program. The purpose of our conversation was to help them find ways to create a strong sense of unification employee engagement across their multiple markets.

They know that companies with highly-engaged employees are 17% more productive and 31% more profitable, and they recognize that those with strong levels of engagement enjoy 26% greater annual increases in revenue and 233% higher customer loyalty (yes - you read that right)! They’re doing great stuff over there, but they wanted to focus specifically on how they can increase engagement by creating a strong sense of “tribe.”

Topics: company culture

10 Tips to Help You Find Superstar Sales Talent (VIDEO)

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When sales managers are working to build their talent bank with qualified candidates, it's not easy. Couple that with your desire to have the very best sales talent in there, it gets quite a bit harder. 

Topics: sales management Talent recruitment

What You Can Learn From Losing The Sale

what you can learn from losing the saleOver the last couple of months, I have had a number of clients share with me that they lost out on a couple of large deals that they had felt pretty strongly about. In each of those scenarios, my first question was, "Do you know why?" More often than not, the answer to my question was, “I’m not sure.”

Anyone who has ever been in a sales position has received a “no” in their career – most likely more than they would like – it comes with the job. But, it is what you do with the “no” that separates the best from the rest. Diagnosing where you may have gone wrong in the sales process can help to minimize making the same mistake in the future.

Topics: Proposal sales process

Weekly Roundup: Personalization Strategies to Boost Sales + More

salespeople individual

- MOTIVATION -

"OPPORTUNITIES DON'T HAPPEN. YOU CREATE THEM."

-CHRIS GROSSER

 

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

8 Personalization Strategies for Boosting Sales — CloserIQ

For modern customers, there’s almost always more than one option when it comes to making a purchase. That makes it even harder for sales teams to close deals. But when customers are inundated by countless messages everyday, personalization can help.

Buyers don’t want to feel like they are part of the herd. They want to feel special and taken care of. Working to fulfill that need can help your team stand out. There are a variety of ways to personalize pitches and approaches. Be sure to keep these methods in mind when empowering your team.
>>> READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

The 4 Most Important Key Performance Indicators for Sales Managers

4 most important kpis for sales managers

Sometimes I wonder if our ability to measure almost everything is what gets in the way of us actually paying attention to what might be the most useful metrics. I’ve spoken with plenty of sales managers who are frustrated these days because someone upstairs has fallen in love with a new measurement, a new report, or a new way to look at familiar data. All these midstream changes result in plenty of heat and plenty of smoke, but not necessarily the light of new insight. Not much actually changes, especially at the bottom line.

Don’t get me wrong. I love numbers as much as the next person and I agree that measurement improves performance and is essential to success. But I also know we can’t keep changing the rules of the game. Performance improvement comes only when we focus on the same metrics over time. We need to follow the right measurements and stay focused.

What if you could only measure four things? Which would you choose?
Topics: Management

Effective Feedback for Sales Performance

feedback for sales performanceThe top-performing sales managers in business are on top because they are continually finding ways to make their team produce even more. The number one way to do that is by providing effective feedback to their employees. 

Almost every sales organization has their highest performers who are needed even more after they reach their goals, their average performers that are “make or break” depending on the month, and the low performers who are a drag on achievement. There is an important technique that can give you a big boost with all of the above: Feedback. 

Topics: sales management Talent

What to do When You Can’t Get a Meeting With the Decision Maker

working with decision influencersEveryone wants a piece of the "big cheese"… the "head-honcho," the "main man" or "main woman," or otherwise known as the decision maker. Often, the lone source of the YES to the solutions you sell, connecting with the elusive decision maker can be mission impossible and derail a sale before it gets started.

These people are tough to get a meeting with because they are busy and in high demand, and don’t usually trust sellers or value spending time with folks like you. They’ve been burned by sub-par sellers in the past. Ouch!

What makes it even more challenging, is that everyone else is trying to get face time with the same decision maker as you. Plus, these folks are not as active on social media and are surrounded by gatekeepers.

What to do, oh what to do?

Topics: Decision Makers sales process

Personal User Guides: Show Your Coworkers How to Get the Best Out of You

personal user guidesIt is more important than ever before that sales organizations focus increased attention on emotional intelligence. As a sales performance company focused on turning talent into performance, we see evidence every day that when leaders are more self-aware and more aware of others, they are more successful.

Topics: company culture

Weekly Roundup: Marketing Hacks to Make You a Sales Management Guru + More

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- MOTIVATION -

"NEVER PUT OFF TOMORROW WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY"

-THOMAS JEFFERSON

 

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

Marketing Hacks to Make You a Sales Management Guru — Sales & Marketing Management

Sales managers are a rare breed. The job is challenging. The most successful sales managers demonstrate a knack for hacking other disciplines. Successful sales managers combine the skills of economists, data analysts, psychologists, sociologists and entrepreneurs.

They also benefit from hijacking a few best practices from marketers. Here are some thought-starters for hacking your counterparts in marketing.
>>> READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

4 Ted Talks You Should Show in a Sales Meeting

sales-team-meeting.jpg

If your sales meetings are typically just focused on reviewing the budget pacing numbers and other housekeeping notes, then WOW are you missing a great opportunity. Sales meetings are a great place to do sales training or sales warm ups. While most sales managers agree with this, they often share that one of the reasons they don’t do that sort of activity is that they don’t have time to prepare. Clients of the Center for Sales Strategy often use one of the “sales meeting kits, ” but not everyone has that available to them. So if you are looking for some content to enliven your next sales meeting, here are four TED talks that we recommend.

A summary is provided so you can get an idea of what each talk is about.

Topics: successful sales meetings sales management

The Most Underrated Tactic in Business Conversations

silence-listen-sales-management-leadershipIf someone has the “gift of gab” they're often told that they should go into sales. Which often, just gives salespeople a bad name. Think about it. None of us like the salesperson who just keeps talking. The one that knows everything and is willing to tell us every detail. Are you talking about something the other person expressed interest in?

Topics: sales performance leadership

How to Transform Weekly IFM's from Time Wasters to Performance Improvement Meetings

valuable ifm meetingSales managers know that if they want salespeople to have a healthy sales pipeline, they need to have a balance between proactive, upstream sales activities, and reactive, day-to-day tasks.

Topics: sales management coaching

Sell That Smoothie! (Successfully Selling Integrated Solutions)

sell-smoothie-analogyShifts in consumer behavior over the last 20 years demand that businesses use multiple platforms to reach consumers. As a result, most media organizations today understand the importance of selling Integrated Solutions – just take a look at all of the capabilities that they have to offer a business to help them achieve their desired business results!

Topics: selling digital advertising integrated media solution

Weekly Roundup: Bad Sales Habits + More

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It's the LAST week to share your insight for the 2019 State of Media Sales Report 
CLICK HERE to contribute your expertise and help us develop an
extensive report to share in the Fall.

- MOTIVATION -

"TODAY IS ALWAYS THE MOST PRODUCTIVE DAY OF YOUR WEEK."

-MARK HUNTER

 

- AROUND THE WEB -

<< If you only read one thing >>

9 Bad Sales Habits Every Rep Should Avoid — CloserIQ

2019 State of Media Sales Report - Coming Fall Succeeding in sales is all about developing the right habits. But not all habits are sales-generating.

The industry has changed a lot in recent decades, moving towards a consultative approach. Now, some once-hallowed practices will actively hinder your ability to connect with prospective customers and close deals.

If you’re still doing these things, you’re not offering real value to your customers.
>>> READ MORE

Topics: Wrap-up

5 Books Sales Leaders Should Read This Summer

summer-book-list-sales

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.

At least once a week, I get asked by a sales leader if there is a business book I would recommend they read that will help them improve their game. That is a tough question to answer, because there are so many very good books out there, and depending where you are in your career (or your current business situation, or what you have already read) the right book for you could be one of several. So instead of picking just one book, I thought I would provide a list of five books that would make for great reading this summer.

Topics: Sales leadership

8 Historic American Leaders and Why They’d Make a Great Sales Leader Today

great sales leader qualities from american historic leadersTomorrow is the 4th of July, or Independence Day. It's a day that we as Americans reflect on our freedom, our heritage, and our history. In honor of this, we asked a few of the CSS team to chime in for this post. We asked, "If you could pick one historic American leader that would make a great sales leader today because of their strengths and talents, who would it be?" Here's what they said. 

Topics: holiday sales management leadership

Top 15 Reasons Your Employees Stay [INFOGRAPHIC]

15 reasons your employees stay-Blog Header (screenshot-green)Companies with highly-engaged employees grow revenue 2.5x as much as those who don't, and engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organization. Creating and building a company culture of engagement is vital to a healthy company and business growth.

Topics: company culture

Creating a Company Culture that Your Employees Will Buy Into

getting employees to buy-in to company cultureOver the last few years, company culture has been a hot topic in corporate America. Companies geared towards Millennials tout game rooms and espresso machines, and most companies are having serious discussions about how to create the right atmosphere. Ask any manager trying to recruit talent, and they will tell you that culture matters. A few bad reviews on an employment website, and talent will look right past your company for one with a “great culture.” So how do you create the right culture to attract top talent? And more importantly, how do you get your current employees, and most importantly, your leaders, to buy into that culture?

Topics: company culture